A 71-year-old man died this week at a trailhead in Death Valley National Park in California in what officials say may have been a heat-related death.
The man, who has not been identified, collapsed Tuesday afternoon outside a restroom at Golden Canyon as temperatures soared to around 121 degrees, with actual temperatures inside Golden Canyon most likely much higher because canyon walls radiate the sun’s heat, the National Park Service said in a news release.
The man was wearing a sun hat and hiking clothes, and he had probably been hiking the popular trail, officials said.
Other park visitors noticed the man and called 911 at around 3:40 p.m., the park service said.
Park rangers responded minutes later, while an air helicopter could not be deployed because of the high temperature. Rescuers performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator but were not able to save the man.
A cause of death has yet to be determined. Rangers suspected the heat was a factor, the park service said.
It said visitors were encouraged to visit Death Valley safely in the summer by sightseeing short distances from their air-conditioned cars or hiking in the park's cooler mountains. Hiking at low elevations is also not recommended after 10 a.m., it said.
The agency noted that it was possibly the second heat-related death in Death Valley this summer, after a 65-year-old man died July 3.
Death Valley has experienced at least 28 days of temperatures over 110 degrees this year, the agency said, citing the National Weather Service.
"Heat stroke sets in when the body’s core temperature rises above 104 degrees," it said.